Today we have a number of things to see. We checked out of our hotel room, had the complimentary breakfast (it'll keep body and soul together), and headed for our first stop, The Vermont Teddy Bear factory. That was not far from Burlington, so we got there for the first tour of the day. The tour was designed for kids and parents to tour together, as we could tell from the guide's dialogue. one problem...the tour had 8 adults and no kids! We had to act like kids or he wouldn't continue. A couple of minutes into the tour two women with a child that appeared to be about 4 years old joined the tour. Better! We saw the process they go through to make the bears, and got some insight into the bears. We were told about the lifetime guarantee for the bears. If anything ever happens to the bears, they will repair/replace the bear for no charge. We were shown one bear and told to look deep into it's eyes. If you look carefully around the retina of the eye is written Vermont Teddy Bear Co. If you ever need help for your bear, all you need to provide is the label sown onto the back and at least one of the eyes. Some examples he gave were one bear who had been torn up by a dog (not uncommon, teddy bears and dogs don't get along well) and one bear that had been run over by a lawn mower. Not much left, but both were replaced by the company. We also saw some limited edition bears (usually 75 or 100) and one picture of a one of a kind that was auctioned off. It went for over $7,000. Around the tour were some 6' bears. One of the men on the tour asked if they sell at all, and who would want a 6' bear. I spoke up and said they are real popular in libraries!
After leaving the bears, we went to see a place we found a flyer for...the Middlebury Sweets. It said they were the largest candy store in Vermont, and home to the largest Gummy Bear. Seems to be the day for bears! We drove to the place that was indicated on the flyer, and were greeted by a sign in the door that said the store had moved. The new location was about 2 miles away. Not too bad. We found the new location and saw that it had become The Middlebury Sweets Candy Shop and Motel. Apparently they had taken over an older one level motel and had converted a couple of rooms to the candy store. They were still setting up the store, but we were able to go in and look around. The store did not seem huge. The M&Ms store in Manhattan has nothing to worry about. We also saw the largest Gummy Bear. It was in a case next to a large gummy snake, gummy worm and other oversize gummies. The bear was about 2' high and proportionally sized. A little disappointing all in all. On to our next stop.
From the candy store we went to Plymouth Notch Vermont, the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president. We were directed by Miss Neverlost (our name for our GPS) into some of the highest mountains in the area. We passed Killington on the drive. Up in the mountains is Plymouth Notch. The town consists of about 7 buildings all now on the National Historic Register. We had lunch in Calvin Coolidge's aunt's house which had been converted into a cafe before going to purchase tickets for the tour. When we bought the tickets we learned we had just missed the 2:00 tour and had to wait until the 3:00 tour. We spent some time watching a video about Coolidge, and walked through the museum and gift shop. Finally 3:00 rolled around and we went on the tour. The guide was an older gentleman who was very informative and amusing as we walked through the various buildings. We saw the home where he was born and grew up(behind the store his father ran) saw the place he lived in from time to time when he was VP across the street from his birthplace home, and saw the room where he took the oath of office when he learned that Warren Harding had died. His oath of office was administered by the local notary public, his father. When his father was asked what made him think he could administer the oath he replied "nobody told me I couldn't". Very interesting visit.
When we left Plymouth Notch our next stop was the Vermont Country Store. A colleague of mine in Spotswood had lived in Vermont and worked there and after her telling me about it I just had to see it Apparently I was the only person in the world who was not familiar with The Vermont Country Store and their catalogue. It was amazing. A huge store that carried, well, everything! From food to eat there, to food to take home, to clothing, to vintage toys and everything in between. Had a fun time.
Finally it was time to head for our next stopping place The wayside Inn in Bethlehem New Hampshire. It was about a 2 hour ride, hindered by construction. We finally got here at about 8. Fortunately their restaurant served until 10. We had dinner and went to our room to read (Cheryl) and blog (me). Time to get ready for tomorrow.